LOCKDOWN ENDING: How to switch from casual #Style back to office clothing?

3 May 2021
By Tom Collins

Sharon Huggard is a Style Coach based in West Cork.

“It has been over an entire year in your comfortable leggings and sweats and the novelty has worn off. As one of my clients recently said to me ‘I am ready to wear actual real clothes again. I’ve had my fun, but it is over as it is affecting my self-confidence and self-esteem.’

At the start back in March 2020 we thought it was going to be a few weeks of working from home, home schooling and our natural survival instinct was understandably to seek the feeling of safety and security in the world where we had no control, we could control how we felt. We wanted to feel safe, secure, cozy and comfy and nothing like leggings and a hoodie to bring us that feeling it was like swaddling a baby in blankets. We were cocoon and it felt safe. No judgement here I barely got out of my jammies that first week as I came to terms with the enormity of the unfolding events concern for my parents returning from Spain, 5 of us and puppy at home 24/7 my diary cleared of all the amazing events and clients.

It is over a year later now and the feedback back I am getting is that while they don’t want to break up with their leggings as it is providing much comfort, they know it is no longer serving them and it is time to move on and reclaim their mojo.

Let us examine some of the adverse effects behind comfort at all cost approach to getting dressed:

Pandemic Weight Gain

There is no shame, we are all doing the best with what we have in the current circumstances, but weight gain has been a side effect of the last year. Over half of women have said they have gained weight due to Covid restrictions coining the phrase Quarantine 19. It is no surprise, as routines have been disrupted, stress increased, and it is unclear as when things will return to normal. In the whole scheme of things, it is no big deal if you put on a few lbs. It is only an issue if it is adversely affecting you, getting you down.

If you use clothes as a measure of weight gain and the tightening of your waist band is your signal to put the cake down, then elastic and drawstring is luring you into a false sense of security. Wearing regular clothes reminds us if they are a bit too tight and what if anything you want to do to course correct, everyone has their own gauge and marker!

Embrace your Feminine Confidence

Male and female have both masculine and feminine energy in them. Our feminine power is so beautiful. Many of us tap more into our masculine power striving, achieving, goal setting, its go go go which is not bad per se, but it is nice to return to the feminine. Clients have expressed to me that wearing baggy comfortable clothing that they feel they have lost touch with their femininity and miss the confidence of that silky fabric, flow of the skirt etc to help them embrace their feminine confidence and wisdom which research shows that as women when we increase feminine radiance, we truly are in our authentic selves it makes us likable, trustable, accepted and credible. How do your clothes make you feel?

Lifestyle Separation

B.C. (before Covid) many of us would have used our clothes as a tool to separate the lifestyles of our lives e.g., work life, home life and leisure time. That separation has been eroded as we are at home or working from home so no separation mentally or physically. Remember the days when you got in the door from work or kid’s activities and the ultimate treat was taking your bra, it meant I’m off duty, it is relaxation time! In the past year you could have gotten away without wearing a bra (except on the highlight of your week to do the grocery shopping where aisle 5 has become your runway!).
Our clothes have subconscious associations, for example leggings or joggers say down time, chill out, relaxation. That is not a problem if that is the feeling you want to evoke but if you want to kick ass and have world domination on your agenda then you might want to dress like the women you want to become to elicit these powerful and confident feelings. Your clothes are talking. What are they saying?

Hiding from your body

It breaks my heart listening to clients, saying they are not feeling comfortable with their bodies. I totally understand, believe me I have had those moments too. But hiding from yourself and others is not the answer, self-acceptance and compassion are. Confidence is a muscle and now we may not be getting to flex and build it. It’s time to face the mirror and the music.

‘Clothes… change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.’ – Virginia Woolf

My Top Tips on how to gently yet stylishly transition from our leggings

Comfort has reigned supreme over the past year and we are not ready to dethrone it just yet.

∙ Choose materials with the give and fluidity – we are not ready to don the spanx anytime soon.
∙ Elevate a pair of tailored joggers and pair with a tee, trainers and denim jacket or blazer and heels to ease yourself back into ‘real’ clothes.
∙ Knits with jeans or tailoring are an effortlessly way to up your style game.
∙ Accessories e.g. scarves and statement jewellery,put a look together giving it that considered yet casual vibe.
∙ If you have nice items, I invite you not to keep things for good. We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time so let’s change the dial and get our wardrobes working for us.
∙ Transition dressing, if you have put on weight, I recommend that you buy a few transition pieces that fit and flatter your current shape. You deserve to look and feel fabulous every day. So, what if you put on a few pounds, celebrate that you have survived and come out the other side of a global pandemic.

Sharon Huggard The Style Coach helps women who are hiding & holding themselves back, because they are carrying a bit of extra weight. For many years they have measured their self-esteem & self-worth on the scales. Sharon helps them to create a look you love and dress with confidence every day. For further information check out www.sharonhuggard.com

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